“We’ll be out in a minute,” Chantelle said over the phone.
Her voice wasn’t what Niall had expected, though he wasn’t sure why given as he was aware of what the local dialect sounded like. That said, he didn’t find her voice unpleasant at all. “Okay sweetheart. See you in a minute.” Niall hung up the phone and kept an eager eye on the door. He ignored the taxi driver’s bored sigh. His nerves jangled despite the couple of warmup drinks he’d had at home to take the edge off.
A couple of minutes passed before the door of the house opened and two females stepped out. Niall could tell immediately which one was Chantelle thanks to her lighter coloured hair, but the darkness prevented him from seeing much else. The streetlamps offered little illumination. They walked towards the taxi; laughing at something one or the other had said. Chantelle was the first to enter and she shuffled in next to Niall followed by Stacey. Chantelle looked at Niall with a genuine and captivating smile. Her large eyes sparkled in the dim light.
“Hiya. I’m Chantelle,” she said in an attempt to be formal; holding out a hand that Niall took in a gentle shake.
“Niall. A pleasure to meet you.”
There was small talk throughout the taxi ride, though as soon as they exited, Chantelle gave Niall a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek. He couldn’t help noticing that she smelled great and was a lot taller than he’d imagined. The better light confirmed that her C-MAC photos hadn’t lied. She was a very attractive girl. Physically, she was his ideal woman in all but height. That was neither here nor there for him though. Her cousin Stacey wasn’t a bad looking girl herself; however, his eyes were all Chantelle’s.
He headed immediately for the bar where he bought a round of drinks for everybody. They sat outside and talked; the conversation flowing seamlessly from one subject to the next. Chantelle was both interesting and interested in what Niall had to say. He purposely chose to omit the situation with Fiona; partly because he didn’t want to think about her and partly because he was worried Chantelle wouldn’t be happy that he hadn’t already told her about it. As far as he was concerned, there was nothing to tell at present. They’d agreed to meet platonically on this occasion with it being the first.
That was the plan anyway. As they got more and more drunk, they became gradually more touchy-feely. The attraction was obvious and undeniable. If Niall went to the bar or to visit the toilet, Chantelle’s face would light up whenever he returned and he couldn’t deny he felt that same glow whenever he saw her. They were at perfect ease in the company of one another. One thing that massively endeared Chantelle to him was the fact that he did all in his power not to make Stacey feel like a third wheel and would ensure never to leave her out of conversations. He even took the time to flirt a little with her and give her a confidence boost as she came across a little under confident to him.
Niall felt great. He felt better than he had in weeks. He could feel the good mood seeping out of his pores. His jaw hurt because he spent virtually the entire time smiling. Although the alcohol had a hand in that, it was a direct contrast to how he’d felt when drinking on other occasions recently.
The end of the night came around all too quickly. As Niall, Chantelle and Stacey awaited the arrival of the taxi to take them home. The former two conversed while Stacey spoke to somebody on the phone.
“This has been just what I’ve needed,” Niall said drunkenly. “I’ve been so miserable of late and this was the perfect way of cheering me up.”
“I’m glad you had such a good time,” Chantelle responded.
“Wait… you had a good time too didn’t you?” Niall asked; eyeing her suspiciously.
“I’ve had a great time. There’s just been one thing missing.”
“What’s that then?”
Chantelle didn’t respond, but her eyes gave away what she was alluding to. Niall would have picked up on it quicker if not for his inebriated state. Then the penny finally dropped.
“Oh,” he said; feeling a little awkward.
“Don’t worry about it. If you’ve decided you don’t like me in that way then it’s fine. You’re an awesome guy and I’d like it if we could at least be friends.”
“No, no, no. I do like you in that way. You’re absolutely smoking. I just haven’t wanted to be presumptuous,” Niall admitted; mispronouncing the word presumptuous and causing Chantelle to laugh coyly and cutely.
“I’m relieved to hear that. I… uhm… I really like you.”
“I feel the same.”
The pair smiled at one another for several drawn out moments before they leaned into one another and their lips met for the first time. Niall felt some serious butterflies as they kissed; unsure if it was the drink causing the sensation. It was quite shy and timid initially, then they soon grew into it and the kissing became gradually more sensual.
They only stopped when Stacey came back over and interrupted them. “Finally,” she said out loud. “It’s been obvious all night you’ve both wanted to do that.”
“Good things take time in coming,” Niall said philosophically.
“Shut up and kiss me again!” Chantelle pulled Niall in close for a second time.
The taxi arrived shortly after and dropped Chantelle and Stacey at the latter’s house. Niall gave Chantelle a kiss goodbye before the driver pressed on to take Niall home. He reclined in the back seat and soaked up the positive feelings inside. The driver didn’t say a word the whole way; something that would ordinarily have had Niall feeling uncomfortable. Not tonight! When he arrived home, Niall necked a pint of water to ensure the headache the following morning wouldn’t be too intense before getting into bed. He sent Chantelle a good night text and then thought about the whole night with a smile.
The date could only be construed a success and Niall was too drunk at that precise moment to contemplate the fact that he’d have serious decisions to make when he woke the next morning.
TO BE CONTINUED
Title image from Shine Aloud.